New Telegraph Feature on London’s Lost Tobacco Houses

July 20, 2015
by matthewgreen

Did you know that in Jacobean London, there were 7,000 tobacco houses – more than alehouses and taverns combined? And that the “holy herb” was seen as a catalyst for creativity, cure for cancer, and a wholesome and nutritious breakfast for schoolchildren (even if it did ‘make your breath stink like the piss of a fox’)?

All is revealed in Dr Matthew Green’s latest feature for the Daily Telegraph, which you can read here.

The feature takes the reader on a journey into the heady, exotic world of the Jacobean tobacco house at a time when London was the smoking capital of the world and describes the first, doomed chapter in the sorry War on Drugs when James I tried to extinguish the “perpetual stinking torment” by increasing taxes by 4,000 % only to capitulate in the face of lucrative imports from the new colony of Virginia.

It also includes some rather fetching images of early smokers.

The article is part of the promotion for the recently-published London: A Travel Guide Through Time, in whose first chapter, set in 1603, the time traveller has the headrush of their life inside a Jacobean tobacco den. Find out more about the book here.

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